"Hampi" i said. Sai approved, and added if not anyone both of us will complete the trip. Ok, that was encouraging, if not Hampi, the probability of breaking out of bangalore was more that weekend. Soon Hampi was ruled out due to lack of crowd. Skandagiri was rejected since night trekking was no longer allowed there. Funny part, looks like few Policemen use it to bribe money from visitors. Even in bangalore, traffic police work with full force on weekends!! Anyway leave that. So the final option was Shravanabelagola - a jain piligrim center. And it was planned to be a bike trip. Exciting (to think)!!!!
The plan was to start early before bangalore wakes up. Sai took the job of disturbing the dreams and accomplished it with perfection. Started at around 6.20AM with free roads and early morning chillness to tackle. The ride was smooth, as the Unicorn and Apache sped at 80 to 90 KMPH till we reached NH4. After that the speedometer wobbled between 90s and 100s and at times above that too. Fun, it was. Can call it madness/risk or whatever. But the fingers had gone numb, felt more like a wood holding on to the clutch and accelerator. Sun popped up slowly and it was battling against the early morning chillnesswhen we reached Bangalore - Mangalore highway. The highway was free, the silent Unicorn glided at 90-100 KMPH. Cool breeze, early morning sun, a smooth bike, free highway everything was in our favour. Those bike advertisements are true, you can forget even if it is a girl sitting behind. The four lane road ended, and we took the SH to Shravanabelagola with 18KMs left to cover. We had reached there in exactly 3 Hrs, with 3 pit stops few of which were considerably long.
Finished breakfast and took 10 minutes to reach the top of first peak, Vindhyagiri. ASI has done some work, maintaining the structures, but cementing them has spoiled the architectural beauty. Highlight was the 57ft Gommatheshwara statue. Same story with Chandragiri too. The temple complex also houses few beautiful temples. At the top there was Chandragupta Paduke. After a while came down and started back to bangalore with a full watermelon packed. The journey was once again smooth, till we reached the bangalore in the evening. Back to maddening traffic and pothole filled roads. Anyway a welcome break, it was.
Photos - https://picasaweb.google.com/sskganesan/ShravanaBelaGolaBikeTrip, https://picasaweb.google.com/111446569907392516250/Shravanabelagola?noredirect=1